Desalination project undermines takeover

Jane Emerick
Confirmation of a desalination plant for Torquay has pulled the rug from under the RACV’s takeover bid for the town’s golf course, according to a committee member opposed to the deal.
Greg Giampiccolo said the club now did not need the RACV’s carrot of a recycled water supply to keep the course green.
“The RACV says it will bring water. Well, that’s not far off anyway,” Mr Giampiccolo said.
“Basically, they’re offering us a bit of free membership to take over our 94acre golf course.”
The club’s committee reinstated Mr Giampiccolo last week after kicking him off for speaking out against the RACV proposal.
The RACV’s final proposal, including a promise to spend $6 million on irrigation and course upgrades, is set to arrive in 1200 members’ mailboxes by today.
But Plains Water Consortium project manager Mike Jones said recycled water would reach the course by next summer regardless of the RACV’s involvement in the club.
“We’ll be looking to bring 30 to 40 megalitres of recycled water to the course,” Mr Jones said.
“We’ll work on it all winter and plan to have it ready for the start of summer.”
Mr Jones said his company would build a wastewater desalination plant to supply Class A recycledwater to housing estates, sporting grounds and agriculture around Torquay.
The project would remove excess salt from water recycled at Black Rock treatment plant.
The RACV’s $55 million takeover proposal includes an exchange of ownership of the 39hectare course.
Other promises include $45 million for a new clubhouse and a 55room resort.
The deal also includes membership incentives.
General manager Bill Laird said the golf club was seeking legal advice on whether the deal depended on a 50 per cent or 75 per cent vote of members in favour of the proposal.
Mr Laird said members could ask questions about the takeover deal at an information meeting on April 22.
Mr Laird anticipated a final vote at the end of May.
Members would have their say on whether to accept the offer with a show of hands.